The Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing Your Practice With Photos

November 20, 2017 Rieva Lesonsky

There's a reason the old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words" still rings true. Whether it's your printed brochure, your website or your social media posts, people are more likely to pay attention to your marketing message if it involves an image. Humans are visual creatures, and research has shown that people typically retain 10 percent of what they hear. When the information is accompanied with an image, however, that figure jumps to 65 percent.

Clearly, marketing with photos can help your dental practice make a splash. Here are some simple important do's and don'ts to keep in mind when marketing with photos.

  • Do invest in good-quality photos. It's fine to use snapshots from your smartphone on social media, but if you’re taking photos of your waiting area, your staff, or headshots of the dentists in your office to post on your website or use in printed materials, you need to make sure those photos look professional. Find a local photographer who can do the job for you or ask other businesspeople in your community for a recommendation. High-quality photos don't have to cost a lot, and they'll pay off by making your practice look more professional.
  • Don't use random photos you find on the Internet. Not all photos that you use in your marketing need to be pictures of you or your employees. However, if you're looking for some variety to add to your website, social media pages or brochures, always make sure you have permission before you use a photo. Searching online, downloading a photo and using it in your marketing materials without permission can lead to a lawsuit if the photographer finds out you used their work without paying for it. Play it safe by subscribing to a stock photo service, such as Thinkstock or Shutterstock, to get access to thousands of professional photos for an affordable price.
  • Do consider your practice’s brand when creating photos. The photos you use in your marketing materials should help to promote a coherent brand image for your dental practice. Using photos that have a similar filter or choosing color schemes that complement your brand logo, for example, will make your photos easily identifiable as “yours.” If you specialize in cosmetic dentistry, for instance, glamorous, sophisticated photos may be more appropriate; if your office focuses on pediatric dentistry, bright and cheery photos could work better.
  • Don't use photos of your patients without permission. Before-and-after photos of your dental patients are a great testimonial to your skills as a dentist. However, you should never use someone's photo on your website, share it on social media or include it in print marketing materials without getting express written permission from the patient (an email is OK). If a patient changes their mind and wants the photo removed, be sure to comply.
  • Do engage with your patients on social media. Encourage your patients to post photos of their beautiful smiles on your practice’s social media pages. For example, you could ask patients to share Throwback Thursday photos of how they looked before you whitened their teeth, or photos of their children after losing their first tooth. Photos help make your social media pages a fun place to interact with your practice and with other patients.
  • Don't spend hours struggling with photos. You’ve got better things to do—like helping patients. Lighthouse 360 has an easy-to-use widget that makes uploading photos and creating photo galleries on your website a snap. You can even post photos to Facebook from directly within the Lighthouse 360 portal.
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